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This article is about the country. For other uses, see .

"Nippon" redirects here. For other uses, see .

Constitutional monarchy in East Asia

Japan (: 日本; Nippon or Nihon ; formally 日本国 About this sound  or Nihon-koku, lit. "State of Japan") is a in . Located in the , it lies off the eastern coast of the Asian mainland and stretches from the in the north to the and in the southwest. : The that make up mean "sun origin", and it is often called the "Land of the Rising Sun". Japan is a consisting of about . The four largest are , , , and , which make up about ninety-seven percent of Japan's land area and often are referred to as home islands. The country is divided into 47 in eight , with being the northernmost prefecture and being the southernmost one. The population of 127 million is the . make up 98.5% of Japan's total population. About 9.1 million people live in , the .

Archaeological research indicates that Japan was inhabited as early as the period. The first written mention of Japan is in texts from the 1st century AD. Influence from other regions, mainly , followed by periods of isolation, particularly from Western Europe, has characterized .

From the 12th century until 1868, Japan was ruled by successive feudal military who ruled in the name of the . Japan entered into a long in the early 17th century, which was ended in 1853 when a United States fleet to open to the West. After nearly two decades of internal conflict and insurrection, the Imperial Court its political power in 1868 through the help of several clans from and —and the was established. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, victories in the , the and allowed Japan to expand its empire during a period of increasing . The of 1937 expanded into part of in 1941, which came to an following the and the . Since adopting its revised on May 3, 1947, during the by the , Japan has maintained a with an and an elected legislature called the .

Japan is a member of the , , the , the , the and the —and is considered a . The country has the world's third-largest and the world's fourth-largest . It is also the world's and .

The country benefits from a highly skilled workforce and is among the most highly educated countries in the world, with one of the highest percentages of its citizens holding a tertiary education degree. Although Japan has officially , it maintains a with the world's , used for and roles. Japan is a highly with a very high standard of living and . Its population enjoys the and the third lowest rate in the world. Japan is renowned for its historical and extensive , influential industry, rich and its major contributions to science and modern-day technology.

Contents

Etymology

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The Japanese word for Japan is 日本, which is pronounced Nihon or Nippon and literally means "the origin of the sun". The character nichi (日) means "sun" or "day"; hon (本) means "base" or "origin". The compound therefore means "origin of the sun" and is the source of the popular Western "Land of the Rising Sun".

The earliest record of the name Nihon appears in the Chinese historical records of the , the . At the end of the seventh century, a delegation from Japan requested that Nihon be used as the name of their country. This name may have its origin in a letter sent in 607 and recorded in the of the . , the Regent of Japan, sent a mission to China with a letter in which he called himself "the Emperor of the Land where the Sun rises" (日出處天子). The message said: "Here, I, the emperor of the country where the sun rises, send a letter to the emperor of the country where the sun sets. How are you[?]”.

Prior to the adoption of Nihon, other terms such as (大和, or "Great Wa") and (倭国) were used. The term Wa (和) is a homophone of Wo 倭 (pronounced "Wa" by the Japanese), which has been used by the Chinese as a designation for the Japanese as early as the third century period. Another form of Wa (委, Wei in Chinese) was used for an early state in Japan called during the . However, the Japanese disliked some connotation of 倭 (which has been associated in China with concepts like "dwarf" or "pygmy"), and it was therefore replaced with the substitute character Wa (和), meaning "togetherness, harmony".

The English word Japan possibly derives from the historical pronunciation of 日本. The or possibly early pronunciation of Japan was recorded by as Cipangu. In modern , a Wu dialect, the pronunciation of characters 日本 Japan is Zeppen . The old word for Japan, Japun or Japang, was borrowed from a southern coastal Chinese dialect, probably or —and this Malay word was encountered by traders in Southeast Asia in the 16th century. These then brought the word to . The first record of this name in English is in a book published in 1577 and spelled Giapan, in a translation of a 1565 letter written by a Portuguese Jesuit .

From the until the end of , the full title of Japan was Dai Nippon Teikoku (大日本帝國), meaning "the ". Today, the name Nihon-koku/Nippon-koku (日本国) is used as a formal modern-day equivalent with the meaning of "the State of Japan". Countries like Japan whose long form does not contain a descriptive designation are generally given a name appended by the character koku (国), meaning "country", "nation" or "state".

History

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Prehistory and ancient history

A culture around 30,000 BC constitutes the first known habitation of the Japanese archipelago. This was followed from around 14,000 BC (the start of the ) by a to semi-sedentary culture characterized by and rudimentary agriculture, including by ancestors of contemporary and . Decorated clay vessels from this period are some of the oldest surviving examples of pottery in the world. Around 300 BC, the began to enter the Japanese islands, intermingling with the . The , starting around 500 BC, saw the introduction of practices like wet- farming, a new style of and , introduced from China and Korea.

Japan first appears in written history in the Chinese . According to the , the most powerful kingdom on the archipelago during the third century was called . Buddhism was introduced to Japan from , and was promoted by , but the subsequent development of was primarily influenced by China. Despite early resistance, Buddhism was promoted by the ruling class and gained widespread acceptance beginning in the (592–710).

The (710–784) marked an emergence of the centralized Japanese state centered on the Imperial Court in (modern ). The is characterized by the appearance of a nascent as well as the development of Buddhist-inspired art and . The epidemic of 735–737 is believed to have killed as much as one-third of Japan's population. In 784, moved the capital from to , then to (modern ) in 794.

This marked the beginning of the (794–1185), during which a distinctly indigenous Japanese culture emerged, noted for its , and prose. 's and the lyrics of Japan's national anthem "" were written during this time.

began to spread during the chiefly through two major sects, by and by . (, ) became greatly popular in the latter half of the 11th century.

Feudal era

Japan's feudal era was characterized by the emergence and dominance of a ruling class of warriors, the . In 1185, following the defeat of the in the , sung in the epic , samurai was appointed by , and Yoritomo established a base of power in . After his death, the came to power as regents for the shōguns. The school of Buddhism was introduced from China in the (1185–1333) and became popular among the samurai class. The repelled in 1274 and 1281, but was eventually . was himself defeated by in 1336.

Samurais could for the slightest insult and were widely feared by the Japanese population. , 1798

Ashikaga Takauji established the shogunate in Muromachi, . This was the start of the (1336–1573). The achieved glory at the age of , and the culture based on Zen Buddhism (the art of ) prospered. This evolved to , and prospered until the 16th century. On the other hand, the succeeding Ashikaga shogunate failed to control the feudal warlords () and a civil war (the ) began in 1467, opening the century-long ("Warring States").

During the 16th century, traders and from reached Japan for the first time, initiating direct and exchange between Japan and the West. This allowed to obtain European technology and firearms, which he used to conquer many other daimyōs. His consolidation of power began what was known as the (1573–1603). After Nobunaga was assassinated in 1582 by , his successor unified the nation in 1590 and launched .

served as regent for Hideyoshi's and used his position to gain political and military support. When open war broke out, Ieyasu defeated rival clans in the in 1600. Tokugawa Ieyasu was appointed shōgun by in 1603 and established the in (modern ). The shogunate enacted measures including , as a code of conduct to control the autonomous daimyōs; and in 1639 the isolationist ("closed country") policy that spanned the two and a half centuries of tenuous political unity known as the (1603–1868). The study of Western sciences, known as , continued through contact with the Dutch enclave at in . The Edo period also gave rise to ("national studies"), the study of Japan by the Japanese.

Modern era

On March 31, 1854, and the "" of the forced the opening of Japan to the outside world with the . Subsequent similar treaties with Western countries in the period brought economic and political crises. The resignation of the shōgun led to the and the establishment of a nominally unified under the Emperor (the ).

Plunging itself through an active process of Westernization during the Meiji Restoration in 1868, Japan adopted Western political, judicial and military institutions and Western cultural influences integrated with its traditional culture for modern industrialization. The organized the , introduced the , and assembled the . The Meiji Restoration transformed the into an industrialized world power that pursued military conflict to expand its sphere of influence. Although France and Britain showed some interest, the European powers largely ignored Japan and instead concentrated on the much greater attractions of China. France was also set back by its failures in Mexico and defeat by the Germans. After victories in the (1894–1895) and the (1904–1905), Japan gained control of Taiwan, Korea and the southern half of . In addition to imperialistic success, Japan also invested much more heavily in its own economic growth, leading to a period of economic flourishing in the country which lasted until the Great Depression. Japan's population grew from 35 million in 1873 to 70 million in 1935.

Chinese generals surrendering to the Japanese in the of 1894–1895

, Japan joined the and captured German possessions, and made advances into China. The early 20th century saw a period of (1912–1926), but the 1920s saw a fragile democracy buckle under a political shift towards , the passing of and a series of . This process accelerated during the 1930s, spawning a number of new Radical Nationalist groups which shared a hostility to liberal democracy and a dedication to expansion in Asia. Japanese and along with the totalitarianism and ultranationalism reshaped the country. In 1931 Japan and following , it quit the in 1933. In 1936, Japan signed the with and the 1940 made it one of the .

Japanese officials surrendering to the Allies on September 2, 1945, in Tokyo Bay, ending World War II

The Empire of Japan invaded other parts of China in 1937, precipitating the (1937–1945). The Imperial Japanese Army the capital and conducted the . In 1940, the Empire , after which the United States placed an oil embargo on Japan. On December 7–8, 1941, Japanese forces carried out surprise , British forces in , and and , bringing the United States and the United Kingdom into . After victories across the Pacific during the next four years, which culminated in the and the in 1945, Japan agreed to an on August 15. The war cost Japan, , China and the war's other combatants tens of millions of lives and left much of Japan's industry and infrastructure destroyed. The Allies (led by the United States) repatriated millions of from colonies and military camps throughout Asia, largely eliminating the Japanese empire and restoring the independence of its conquered territories. The Allies also convened the on May 3, 1946, to prosecute some senior generals for .

In 1947, Japan adopted a new emphasizing liberal democratic practices. The ended with the in 1952 and Japan was granted membership in the in 1956. Japan later achieved to become the second-largest economy in the world, until surpassed by China in 2010. This ended in the mid-1990s when Japan suffered a . In the beginning of the 21st century, positive growth has signaled a gradual economic recovery. On March 11, 2011, Japan suffered one of the ; this triggered the , one of the worst disasters in the history of .

Geography

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Japan has a total of 6,852 islands extending along the of East Asia. The country, including all of the islands it controls, lies between latitudes 24° and 46°N, and longitudes 122° and 146°E. The main islands, from north to south, are , , and . The , which include , are a chain to the south of . The are south of the main islands of Japan. Together they are often known as the . As of 2006, Japan's territory is 377,923.1 km2 (145,916.9 sq mi) and, due to its many far-flung outlying islands, Japan has the eighth largest in the world covering 4,470,000 km2 (1,730,000 sq mi).

About 73 percent of Japan is forested, mountainous and unsuitable for , or use. As a result, the habitable zones, mainly located in coastal areas, have extremely high population densities. Japan is one of the in the world.

The islands of Japan are located in a zone on the . They are primarily the result of large oceanic movements occurring over hundreds of millions of years from the mid-Silurian to the as a result of the of the beneath the continental and to the south, and subduction of the under the to the north. The off the coast of Japan is a triple junction where the , the and the meets. Japan was originally attached to the eastern coast of the Eurasian continent. The subducting plates pulled Japan eastward, opening the around 15 million years ago.

Japan has 108 active volcanoes. During the twentieth century several new volcanoes emerged, including on Hokkaido and off the in the Pacific. Destructive earthquakes, often resulting in , occur several times each century. The killed over 140,000 people. More recent major quakes are the 1995 and the , a 9.1-magnitude quake which hit Japan on March 11, 2011, and triggered a large tsunami. Japan is substantially prone to earthquakes, tsunami and volcanoes due to its location along the Pacific Ring of Fire. It has the as measured in the 2013 World Risk Index.

Climate

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The climate of Japan is predominantly temperate, but varies greatly from north to south. Japan's geographical features divide it into six principal climatic zones: , , , , , and . The northernmost zone, Hokkaido, has a with long, cold winters and very warm to cool summers. is not heavy, but the islands usually develop deep snowbanks in the winter.

In the Sea of Japan zone on Honshu's west coast, northwest winter winds bring heavy snowfall. In the summer, the region is cooler than the Pacific area, though it sometimes experiences extremely hot temperatures because of the . The Central Highland has a typical inland humid continental climate, with large temperature differences between summer and winter seasons, as well as large diurnal variation; precipitation is light, though winters are usually snowy. The mountains of the and regions shelter the from seasonal winds, bringing mild weather year-round.

The Pacific coast features a climate that experiences milder winters with occasional snowfall and hot, humid summers because of the southeast seasonal wind. The and have a , with warm winters and hot summers. Precipitation is very heavy, especially during the rainy season.

The average winter temperature in Japan is 5.1 °C (41.2 °F) and the average summer temperature is 25.2 °C (77.4 °F). The highest temperature ever measured in Japan 41.1 °C (106.0 °F) was recorded on July 23, 2018. The main begins in early May in Okinawa, and the rain front gradually moves north until reaching Hokkaido in late July. In most of Honshu, the rainy season begins before the middle of June and lasts about six weeks. In late summer and early autumn, often bring heavy rain.

Biodiversity

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Japan has nine forest which reflect the climate and geography of the islands. They range from in the Ryūkyū and , to in the mild climate regions of the main islands, to in the cold, winter portions of the northern islands. Japan has over 90,000 species of , including the , the , the , the , and the . A large network of has been established to protect important areas of flora and fauna as well as thirty-seven . have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List for their outstanding natural value.

Environment

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In the period of rapid economic growth after , environmental policies were downplayed by the government and industrial corporations; as a result, was widespread in the 1950s and 1960s. Responding to rising concern about the problem, the government introduced several environmental protection laws in 1970. The also encouraged the efficient use of energy because of Japan's lack of natural resources. Current environmental issues include urban air pollution (, suspended particulate matter, and toxics), , water , , climate change, chemical management and international co-operation for conservation.

As of June 2015, more than 40 coal-fired power plants are planned or under construction in Japan. The NGO Climate Action Network announced Japan as the winner of its "Fossil of the Day" award for "doing the most to block progress on climate action".

Japan ranks 20th in the 2018 , which measures a nation's commitment to environmental sustainability. As the host and signatory of the 1997 , Japan is under treaty obligation to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions and to take other steps to curb climate change.

Politics

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Government

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Japan is a whereby the power of the is very limited. As a ceremonial figurehead, he is defined by the to be "the symbol of the State and of the unity of the people". Executive power is wielded chiefly by the and his , while sovereignty is vested in the Japanese people.

Japan's legislative body is the , seated in . The Diet is a body, comprising the lower with 465 seats, elected by popular vote every four years or when dissolved; and the upper with 242 seats, whose popularly elected members serve six-year terms. There is for adults over 18 years of age, with a for all elected offices. The Diet is dominated by the social liberal (CDP) and the conservative (LDP). The LDP has enjoyed near-continuous electoral success since 1955, except for brief periods between 1993 and 1994 and from 2009 to 2012. As of November 2017, it holds 283 seats in the lower house and 125 seats in the upper house.

The Prime Minister of Japan is the and is by the Emperor after being designated by the Diet from among its members. The Prime Minister is the head of the Cabinet, and appoints and dismisses the . Following the LDP's landslide victory in the , replaced as the Prime Minister on December 26, 2012.

Historically influenced by , the developed independently during the through texts such as . However, since the late 19th century the has been largely based on the of Europe, notably Germany. For example, in 1896, the Japanese government established a civil code based on a draft of the German ; with the code remaining in effect with post–World War II modifications. Statutory law originates in Japan's legislature and has the of the Emperor. Japan's court system is divided into four basic tiers: the and three levels of lower courts. The main body of Japanese statutory law is called the .

Administrative divisions

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See also:

Japan is divided into 47 prefectures, each overseen by an elected , legislature and administrative bureaucracy. Each prefecture is further divided into cities, towns and villages. The nation is currently undergoing administrative many of the cities, towns and villages with each other. This process will reduce the number of sub-prefecture administrative regions and is expected to cut administrative costs.

Regions and Prefectures of Japan 2.svgAbout this image

Foreign relations

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Japan has diplomatic relations with nearly all independent nations and has been an active member of the since December 1956. Japan is a member of the , , and "", and is a participant in the . Japan signed a security pact with in March 2007 and with in October 2008. It is the world's fifth largest donor of , donating US.2 billion in 2014.

Japan has close ties to the . Since Japan's defeat by the United States and allies in , the two countries have maintained close economic and defense relations. The United States is a major market for Japanese exports and the primary source of Japanese imports, and is committed to defending the country, having military bases in Japan for partially that purpose.

Japan contests 's control of the (including Etorofu, Kunashiri, Shikotan, and the Habomai group) which were occupied by the in 1945.'s control of (Japanese: Takeshima, Korean: Dokdo) are acknowledged, but not accepted and are claimed by Japan. Japan has strained relations with the (PRC) and the (ROC) over the ; and with the People's Republic of China over the status of .

Japan's relationship with South Korea has been strained due to Japan's treatment of Koreans during , particularly over the issue of . These women were essentially sex slaves, and although there is no exact number on how many women were subjected to this treatment, experts believe it could be in the tens or hundreds of thousands. Between 1910 and 1945, the Japanese government rebuilt Korean infrastructure. Despite this, modernization in Korea was always linked to Japanese interests and therefore did not imply a "revolutionization" of social structures. For instance, Japan kept Korea's primitive feudalistic agriculture because it served Japanese interests. Further developments on Japan's imperialism in Korea included establishing a slew of police stations all over the country, replacing taxes in kind with taxes in fixed money, and taking much of the communal land which had belonged to villages to give them to private companies in Japan (causing many peasants to lose their land.) Japan also introduced over 800,000 Japanese immigrants onto the peninsula and carried out a campaign of cultural suppression through efforts to ban the Korean language in schools and force Koreans to adopt Japanese names. With the surrender of Japan and the Axis at the end of WWII in 1945, the Korean Peninsula was once again independent. Despite their historical tensions, in December 2015, Japan agreed to settle the comfort women dispute with South Korea by issuing a formal apology, taking responsibility for the issue and paying money to the surviving comfort women. Today, South Korea and Japan have a stronger and more economically-driven relationship. Since the 1990s, the has created a large fanbase in East Asia, but most notably in Japan. Japan is the number one importer of Korean music (), television (), and films, but this was only made possible after the South Korean government lifted the 30-year ban on cultural exchange with Japan that had been in place since 1948. Korean pop cultural products' success in the Japanese market is partially explained by the borrowing of Japanese ideas such as the star-marketing system and heavy promotion of new television shows and music. Korean dramas such as and , as well as K-pop artists such as and are extremely popular with Japanese consumers. Most recently, South Korean President Moon Jae-in met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the in Hamburg, Germany to discuss the future of their relationship and specifically how to cooperate on finding solutions for aggression in the region. Both leaders restated their commitment to solving the comfort women dispute, building positive relations in the region, and pressuring China to be more assertive with North Korea as it continues to test and isolate themselves further form the international community.

Military

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Japan maintains one of the largest military budgets of any country in the world. The country's military (the – JSDF) is restricted by , which renounces Japan's right to declare war or use military force in international disputes. Accordingly, Japan's Self-Defense Forces is an unusual military that has never fired shots outside Japan. Japan is the highest-ranked Asian country in the . The military is governed by the , and primarily consists of the (JGSDF), the (JMSDF) and the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF). The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) is a regular participant in maritime exercises. The forces have been recently used in peacekeeping operations; the marked the first overseas use of Japan's military since World War II. has called on the government to lift the ban on arms exports so that Japan can join multinational projects such as the .

The 21st century is witnessing a rapid change in global power balance along with globalization. The security environment around Japan has become increasingly severe as represented by nuclear and missile development by . Transnational threats grounded on technological progress including international terrorism and cyber attacks are also increasing their significance. Japan, including its Self-Defense Forces, has contributed to the maximum extent possible to the efforts to maintain and restore international peace and security, such as operations. Building on the ongoing efforts as a peaceful state, the has been making various efforts on its security policy which include: the establishment of the (NSC), the adoption of the National Security Strategy (NSS), and the National Defense Program Guidelines (NDPG). These efforts are made based on the belief that Japan, as a "Proactive Contributor to Peace", needs to contribute more actively to the peace and stability of the region and the international community, while coordinating with other countries including its ally, the United States.

Japan has close economic and military relations with the United States; the acts as the cornerstone of the nation's foreign policy. A member state of the United Nations since 1956, Japan has served as a non-permanent member for a , most recently for 2009 and 2010. It is one of the seeking permanent membership in the Security Council.

In May 2014, Prime Minister said Japan wanted to shed the passiveness it has maintained since the end of World War II and take more responsibility for regional security. He said Japan wanted to play a key role and offered neighboring countries Japan's support. In recent years, they have been engaged in international operations including the . Recent tensions, particularly with North Korea, have reignited the debate over the status of the JSDF and its relation to Japanese society. New military guidelines, announced in December 2010, will direct the JSDF away from its focus on the former to a focus on , especially regarding the territorial dispute over the .

Economy

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, a luxury shopping area in Tokyo

Japan is the third largest national economy in the world, after the United States and China, in terms of , and the fourth largest national economy in the world, after the United States, China and India, in terms of . As of 2016, Japan's was estimated at more than 230 percent of its annual gross domestic product, the largest of any nation in the world. In August 2011, rating has cut Japan's long-term sovereign debt rating one notch from Aa3 to Aa2 inline with the size of the country's deficit and borrowing level. The large budget deficits and government debt since the 2009 global recession and followed by the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 caused the rating downgrade. The accounts for three quarters of the gross domestic product.

Japan has a large industrial capacity, and is home to some of the largest and most technologically advanced producers of motor vehicles, , , steel and nonferrous metals, ships, , textiles, and . cultivate 13 percent of Japan's land, and Japan accounts for nearly 15 percent of the global fish catch, second only to China. As of 2016, Japan's labor force consisted of some 65.9 million workers. Japan has a of around four percent. Some 20 million people, around 17 per cent of the population, were below the poverty line in 2007. is characterized by limited land supply in urban areas.

Japan's exports amounted to US,210 per capita in 2005. As of 2014, Japan's main export markets were the United States (20.2 percent), China (17.5 percent), South Korea (7.1 percent), Hong Kong (5.6 percent) and Thailand (4.5 percent). Its main exports are transportation equipment, motor vehicles, iron and steel products, semiconductors and auto parts. Japan's main import markets as of 2015 were China (24.8 percent), the United States (10.5 percent), Australia (5.4 percent) and South Korea (4.1 percent).

Japan's main imports are machinery and equipment, , foodstuffs (in particular beef), chemicals, textiles and raw materials for its industries. By market share measures, domestic markets are the least open of any country.'s administration began some pro-competition reforms, and foreign investment in Japan has soared.

Japan ranks 27th of 189 countries in the 2014 and has of the developed world. The Japanese variant of capitalism has many distinct features: enterprises are influential, and and seniority-based career advancement are relatively common in the .Japanese companies are known for management methods like "", and is rare. Japan's top global brands include , , , , , , , , , , , , and .

Economic history

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Modern Japan's economic growth began in the . Some of the surviving elements of the Edo period are and water transportation routes, as well as financial instruments such as , banking and insurance of the . During the Meiji period from 1868, Japan expanded economically with the embrace of the . Many of today's enterprises were founded at the time, and Japan emerged as the most developed nation in Asia. The period of overall real economic growth from the 1960s to the 1980s has been called the : it averaged 7.5 percent in the 1960s and 1970s, and 3.2 percent in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Growth slowed in the 1990s during the due to after-effects of the and government policies intended to wring speculative excesses from the stock and real estate markets. Efforts to revive economic growth were unsuccessful and further hampered by the . The economy recovered after 2005; GDP growth for that year was 2.8 percent, surpassing the growth rates of the US and during the same period.

Today, Japan ranks highly for and . It is ranked sixth in the for 2015–2016.

Agriculture and fishery

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The Japanese agricultural sector accounts for about 1.4% of the total country's GDP. Only 12% of Japan's land is suitable for cultivation. Due to this lack of arable land, a system of terraces is used to farm in small areas. This results in one of the world's highest levels of crop yields per unit area, with an overall agricultural self-sufficiency rate of about 50% on fewer than 56,000 square kilometres (14,000,000 ) cultivated.

Japan's small agricultural sector, however, is also highly subsidized and protected, with government regulations that favor small-scale cultivation instead of large-scale agriculture as practiced in North America. There has been a growing concern about farming as the current farmers are aging with a difficult time finding successors.

Rice accounts for almost all of Japan's cereal production. Japan is the second-largest agricultural product importer in the world. Rice, the most protected crop, is subject to tariffs of 777.7%.

In 1996, Japan ranked fourth in the world in . Japan captured 4,074,580 metric tons of fish in 2005, down from 4,987,703 tons in 2000, 9,558,615 tons in 1990, 9,864,422 tons in 1980, 8,520,397 tons in 1970, 5,583,796 tons in 1960 and 2,881,855 tons in 1950. In 2003, the total aquaculture production was predicted at 1,301,437 tonnes. In 2010, Japan's total fisheries production was 4,762,469 fish. Offshore fisheries accounted for an average of 50% of the nation's total fish catches in the late 1980s although they experienced repeated ups and downs during that period.

Today, Japan maintains one of the world's largest fishing fleets and accounts for nearly 15% of the global catch, prompting some claims that Japan's fishing is leading to depletion in fish stocks such as . Japan has also sparked controversy by supporting quasi-commercial .

Industry

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Japan's industrial sector makes up approximately 27.5% of its GDP. Japan's major industries are motor vehicles, electronics, machine tools, metals, ships, chemicals and processed foods; some major Japanese industrial companies include , , and .

Japan is the third largest automobile producer in the world, and is home to , the world's largest automobile company. The Japanese consumer electronics industry, once considered the strongest in the world, is currently in a state of decline as competition arises in countries like , the and . However, despite also facing similar competition from South Korea and China, the Japanese shipbuilding industry is expected to remain strong due to an increased focus on specialized, high-tech designs.

Services

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Japan's service sector accounts for about three-quarters of its total economic output. Banking, insurance, real estate, retailing, , and telecommunications are all major industries, with companies such as , , , , , , , , , , , and listed as some of the largest in the world. Four of the five are ., one of the country's largest providers of savings and insurance services, was slated for privatization by 2015. The six major are the , , , , and Groups.

Tourism

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Japan attracted 19.73 million international tourists in 2015 and increased by 21.8% to attract 24.03 million international tourists in 2016. Tourism from abroad is one of the few promising businesses in Japan. Foreign visitors to Japan doubled in last decade and reached 10 million people for the first time in 2013, led by increase of Asian visitors.

In 2008, the Japanese government has set up Japan Tourism Agency and set the initial goal to increase foreign visitors to 20 million in 2020. In 2016, having met the 20 million target, the government has revised up its target to 40 million by 2020 and to 60 million by 2030.

Japan has 20 , including , and . Popular tourist attractions include and , , ski resorts such as in , , riding the and taking advantage of Japan's and network.

For inbound tourism, Japan was 16th in the world in 2015. In 2009, the published a modern list of famous sights under the name (the Hundred Views of the Heisei period). The 2017 ranks Japan 4th out of 141 countries overall, which was the best in Asia. Japan gained relatively high scores in almost all aspects, especially health and hygiene, safety and security, cultural resources and business travel.

In 2016, 24,039,053 foreign tourists visited Japan. Neighbouring South Korea is Japan's most important source of foreign tourists. In 2010, the 2.4 million arrivals made up 27% of the tourists visiting Japan. Chinese travelers are the highest spenders in Japan by country, spending an estimated 196.4 billion yen (US.4 billion) in 2011, or almost a quarter of total expenditure by foreign visitors, according to data from the .

The Japanese government hopes to receive 40 million foreign tourists every year by 2020.

Rank Country Number (people)
in 2016 Percentage change
2015 to 2016 Number (people)
in 2015 Percentage change
2014 to 2015 1   6,373,000 27.6% 4,993,689 107.3% 2   5,090,300 27.2% 4,002,095 45.3% 3   4,167,400 13.3% 3,677,075 29.9% 4   1,839,200 20.7% 1,524,292 64.6% 5   1,242,700 20.3% 1,033,258 15.9% 6   901,400 13.1% 796,731 21.2% 7   445,200 18.4% 376,075 24.3% 8   394,200 29.1% 305,447 22.4% 9   361,800 17.2% 308,783 35.5% 10   347,800 29.6% 268,361 45.7% 11   292,500 13.2% 258,488 17.5% 12   273,100 18.0% 231,390 26.5% All countries 24,039,053 21.8% 19,737,409 47.1%

Science and technology

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grappled by the International Space Station's robotic arm

Japan is a leading nation in , particularly in fields related to the natural sciences and engineering. The country ranks second among the most innovative countries in the . Nearly 700,000 researchers share a US0 billion budget. The amount spent on relative to gross domestic product is the . The country is a world leader in , having produced twenty-two in either physics, chemistry or medicine and three .

Japanese scientists and engineers have contributed to the advancement of agricultural sciences, electronics, , , chemicals, , and various fields of engineering. Japan leads the world in production and use, possessing more than 20% (300,000 of 1.3 million) of the world's industrial robots as of 2013—though its share was historically even higher, representing one-half of all industrial robots worldwide in 2000. Japan boasts the third highest number of scientists, technicians, and engineers per capita in the world with 83 scientists, technicians and engineers per 10,000 employees.

Electronics and automotive engineering

Main articles: and

A plug-in manufactured by , one of the world's largest carmakers—Japan is the third-largest maker of automobiles in the world

The Japanese electronics and automotive manufacturing industry is well known throughout the world, and the country's electronic and automotive products account for a large share in the global market, compared to a majority of other countries. Brands such as , , , , , , and are internationally famous. It is estimated that 16% of the world's gold and 22% of the world's silver is contained in Japanese electronics.

Aerospace

The (JAXA) is Japan's national ; it conducts space, planetary, and aviation research, and leads development of rockets and satellites. It is a participant in the : the (Kibo) was added to the station during assembly flights in 2008. The was launched May 20, 2010, and achieved orbit around Venus on December 9, 2015. Japan's plans in include: developing the to be launched in 2018; and building a by 2030.

On September 14, 2007, it launched lunar explorer (Selenological and Engineering Explorer) on a (Model H2A2022) carrier rocket from . SELENE is also known as Kaguya, after the lunar princess of . Kaguya is the largest lunar mission since the . Its purpose is to gather data on the . It entered a lunar orbit on October 4, flying at an altitude of about 100 km (62 mi). The probe's mission was ended when it was deliberately crashed by JAXA into the Moon on June 11, 2009.

Nobel laureates

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Japan has received the most science in Asia and ranked 8th in the world., educated at , was awarded the in 1949. followed in 1965. Solid-state physicist , educated at the , received the prize in 1973. of Kyoto University shared the 1981 , and , also educated at Kyoto University, became Japan's first laureate in in 1987. Japanese chemists took prizes in 2000 and 2001: first () and then (Kyoto University). In 2002, (University of Tokyo) and () won in physics and chemistry, respectively. , and , who was an American citizen when awarded, shared the physics prize and also won the chemistry prize in 2008. , and , who is an American citizen when awarded, shared the physics prize in 2014 and the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to in 2016.

Infrastructure

Transportation

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Japan's road spending has been extensive. Its 1.2 million kilometres (0.75 million miles) of paved road are the main means of transportation. As of April 2012, Japan has approximately 1,215,000 kilometres (755,000 miles) of roads made up of 1,022,000 kilometres (635,000 miles) of city, town and village roads, 129,000 kilometres (80,000 miles) of prefectural roads, 55,000 kilometres (34,000 miles) of general national highways and 8,050 kilometres (5,000 miles) of national . A single network of high-speed, divided, limited-access connects major cities on , and . has a separate network, and has a highway of this type. A single network of high-speed, divided, limited-access connects major cities and is operated by toll-collecting enterprises. New and used cars are inexpensive; car ownership fees and fuel levies are used to promote energy efficiency. However, at just 50 percent of all distance traveled, car usage is the lowest of all G8 countries.

Since privatisation in 1987, compete in regional and local passenger transportation markets; major companies include seven enterprises, , and . Some 250 high-speed trains connect major cities and Japanese trains are known for their safety and punctuality. Proposals for a new route between Tokyo and Osaka are at an advanced stage.

There are 175 airports in Japan; the largest domestic airport, , is . The largest international gateways are , and . is the country's largest and busiest port, accounting for 10 percent of Japan's trade value.

Energy

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As of 2011, 46.1% of energy in Japan was produced from petroleum, 21.3% from coal, 21.4% from natural gas, 4.0% from and 3.3% from . Nuclear power produced 9.2 percent of Japan's electricity, as of 2011, down from 24.9 percent the previous year. However, by May 2012 all of the country's nuclear power plants had been taken offline because of ongoing public opposition following the in March 2011, though government officials continued to try to sway public opinion in favor of returning at least some of Japan's 50 nuclear reactors to service. As of November 2014, two reactors at Sendai are likely to restart in early 2015. Japan lacks significant domestic reserves and so has a heavy dependence on . Japan has therefore aimed to diversify its sources and maintain high levels of energy efficiency.

Water supply and sanitation

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The government took responsibility for regulating the water and sanitation sector is shared between the in charge of water supply for domestic use; the in charge of water resources development as well as sanitation; the in charge of ambient water quality and environmental preservation; and the in charge of performance benchmarking of utilities.

Access to an is universal in Japan. 97% of the population receives piped water supply from public utilities and 3% receive water from their own wells or unregulated small systems, mainly in rural areas.

Access to is also universal, either through sewers or on-site sanitation. All collected waste water is treated at secondary-level treatment plants. All effluents discharged to closed or semi-closed water bodies, such as , , or , are further treated to tertiary level. This applies to about 15% of waste water. The effluent quality is remarkably good at 3–10 mg/l of for secondary-level treatment, well below the national effluent standard of 20 mg/l.

Water supply and sanitation in Japan is facing some challenges, such as a decreasing population, declining investment, fiscal constraints, ageing facilities, an ageing workforce, a fragmentation of service provision among thousands of municipal utilities, and the vulnerability of parts of the country to droughts that are expected to become more frequent due to .

Demographics

Main articles: , , , and

Population

, an ethnic minority people from Japan

Japan's population is estimated at around 128 million, with 80% of the population living on . Japanese society is , ethnically and culturally homogeneous, composed of 98.5% ethnic Japanese, with small populations of foreign workers.,, , mostly , mostly and are among the small minority groups in Japan. In 2003, there were about 134,700 non-Latin American Western (not including more than 33,000 and their dependents stationed throughout the country) and 345,500 expatriates, 274,700 of whom were (said to be primarily Japanese descendants, or , along with their spouses), the largest community of Westerners.

The most dominant native ethnic group is the ; primary minority groups include the indigenous and , as well as social minority groups like the . There are persons of mixed ancestry incorporated among the Yamato, such as those from . In 2014, foreign-born non-naturalized workers made up only 1.5% of the total population. Japan is widely regarded as ethnically homogeneous, and does not compile ethnicity or race statistics for Japanese nationals; sources varies regarding such claim, with at least one analysis describing Japan as a while another analysis put the number of Japanese nationals of recent to be minimal. Most Japanese continue to see Japan as a . Former Japanese Prime Minister and current Finance Minister described Japan as being a nation of "one race, one civilization, one language and one culture", which drew criticism from representatives of ethnic minorities such as the .

Japan has the second longest overall at birth of any country in the world: 83.5 years for persons born in the period 2010–2015. The as a result of a followed by a decrease in birth rates. In 2012, about 24.1 percent of the population was over 65, and the proportion is projected to rise to almost 40 percent by 2050.

Religion

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Japan has full religious freedom based on Article 20 of its . Upper estimates suggest that 84–96 percent of the Japanese population subscribe to as its indigenous religion (50% to 80% of which considering degrees of syncretism with , ). However, these estimates are based on people with a temple, rather than the number of true believers. The number of in Japan is estimated to be around 100,000. Other studies have suggested that only 30 percent of the population identify themselves as belonging to a religion. According to and , some 70–80% of the Japanese do not consider themselves believers in any religion. Nevertheless, the level of participation remains high, especially during and occasions such as the of the . and from China have also influenced Japanese beliefs and customs.Japanese streets are decorated on , and .

Shinto is the largest religion in Japan, practiced by nearly 80% of the population, yet only a small percentage of these identify themselves as "Shintoists" in surveys. This is due to the fact that "Shinto" has different meanings in Japan: most of the Japanese attend Shinto shrines and beseech without belonging to Shinto organisations, and since there are no formal rituals to become a member of folk Shinto, Shinto membership is often estimated counting those who join organised Shinto sects. Shinto has 100,000 and 78,890 in the country. first arrived in Japan in the 6th century; it was introduced in the year 538 or 552 from the kingdom of in .

was first introduced into Japan by missions starting in 1549. Today, fewer than 1% to 2.3% are , most of them living in the western part of the country, where the missionaries' activities were greatest during the 16th century. has the highest percentage of Christians: about 5.1% in 1996. As of 2007, there are 32,036 Christian priests and pastors in Japan. Throughout the latest century, some Western customs originally related to Christianity (including , and ) have become popular as secular customs among many Japanese.

is estimated to constitute, about 80–90%, of foreign born migrants and their children, primarily from , , , and . Much of the ethnic Japanese Muslims are those who convert upon marrying immigrant Muslims. The Pew Research Center estimated that there were 185,000 Muslims in Japan in 2010.

Other minority religions include , and , , and since the mid-19th century numerous have emerged in Japan.

Languages

Main articles: and

More than 99 percent of the population speaks Japanese as their first language.Japanese is an distinguished by a system of reflecting the hierarchical nature of Japanese society, with verb forms and particular vocabulary indicating the relative status of speaker and listener. uses () and two sets of ( based on and of kanji), as well as the and .

Besides Japanese, the (, , , , , ), also part of the , are spoken in the chain. Few children learn these languages, but in recent years the local governments have sought to increase awareness of the traditional languages. The dialect is also spoken in the region. The , which has no proven relationship to Japanese or any other language, is , with only a few elderly native speakers remaining in Hokkaido. Public and private schools generally require students to take Japanese language classes as well as language courses.

Problems

The changes in demographic structure have created a number of social issues, particularly a potential decline in workforce population and increase in the cost of social security benefits such as the public pension plan. A growing number of younger Japanese are not marrying or remain childless. In 2011, Japan's population dropped for a fifth year, falling by 204,000 people to 126.24 million people. This was the greatest decline since at least 1947, when comparable figures were first compiled. This decline was made worse by the , which killed nearly 16,000 people.

Japan's population is expected to drop to 95 million by 2050; demographers and government planners are currently in a heated debate over how to cope with this problem. and birth incentives are sometimes suggested as a solution to provide younger workers to support the nation's ageing population. Japan accepts an average flow of 9,500 new Japanese citizens by naturalization per year. According to the , in 2012 Japan accepted just 18 refugees for resettlement, while the United States took in 76,000.

Japan . In 2009, the number of suicides exceeded 30,000 for the twelfth successive year. Suicide is the leading cause of death for people under 30.

Education

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Primary schools, secondary schools and universities were in 1872 as a result of the Meiji Restoration. Since 1947, compulsory education in Japan comprises and , which together last for nine years (from age 6 to age 15). Almost all children continue their education at a three-year .

Japan's education system played a central part in the country's recovery and in the decades following the end of . After World War II, the and the School Education Law were enacted. The latter law defined the school system that would be in effect for many decades: six years of , three years of , three years of high school, and two or four years of university. Starting in April 2016, various schools began the academic year with elementary school and junior high school integrated into one nine-year compulsory schooling program, in hopes to mitigate and ; plans for this approach to be adopted nationwide in the coming years. In Japan, having a strong educational background greatly improves the likelihood of finding a job and earning enough money to support oneself. Highly educated individuals are less affected by unemployment trends as higher levels of educational attainment make an individual more attractive in the workforce. The lifetime earnings also increase with each level of education attained. Furthermore, skills needed in the modern 21st century labor market are becoming more knowledge-based and strong aptitude in science and mathematics are more strong predictors of employment prospects in Japan's highly technological economy.

Japan is one of the top-performing countries in reading literacy, maths and sciences with the average student scoring 540 and has one of the worlds highest-educated labor forces among OECD countries. The Japanese populace is well educated and its society highly values education as a platform for social mobility and for gaining employment in the country's competitive high-tech economy. The country's large pool of highly educated and skilled individuals is largely responsible for ushering Japan's post-war . Tertiary-educated adults in Japan, particularly graduates in sciences and engineering benefit economically and socially from their education and skills in the country's high tech economy. Spending on education as a proportion of GDP is below the OECD average. Although expenditure per student is comparatively high in Japan, total expenditure relative to GDP remains small. In 2015, Japan's public spending on education amounted to just 3.5 percent of its GDP, below the average of 4.7%. In 2014, the country ranked fourth for the percentage of 25- to 64-year-olds that have attained tertiary education with 48 percent. In addition, bachelor's degrees are held by 59 percent of Japanese aged 25–34, the second most in the OECD after South Korea. As the Japanese economy is largely scientific and technological based, the labor market demands people who have achieved some form of higher education, particularly related to science and engineering in order to gain a competitive edge when searching for employment opportunities. About 75.9 percent of high school graduates attended a university, junior college, trade school, or other institution.

The two top-ranking universities in Japan are the and , which have produced . The coordinated by the OECD currently ranks the overall knowledge and skills of Japanese 15-year-olds as sixth best in the world.

Health

Main articles: and

In Japan, health care is provided by national and local governments. Payment for personal medical services is offered through a universal health insurance system that provides relative equality of access, with fees set by a government committee. People without insurance through employers can participate in a national health insurance program administered by local governments. Since 1973, all elderly persons have been covered by government-sponsored insurance. Patients are free to select the physicians or facilities of their choice.

Culture

Main article:

See also:

Japanese culture has evolved greatly from its origins. Contemporary culture combines influences from Asia, Europe and North America. Traditional Japanese arts include such as , , , and ; performances of , , , , and ; and other practices, the , , , , , , and . Japan has a developed system for the protection and promotion of both tangible and intangible and . have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, fifteen of which are of cultural significance.

Architecture

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Japanese architecture is a combination between local and other influences. It has traditionally been typified by wooden structures, elevated slightly off the ground, with tiled or thatched roofs. Sliding doors () were used in place of walls, allowing the internal configuration of a space to be customized for different occasions. People usually sat on cushions or otherwise on the floor, traditionally; chairs and high tables were not widely used until the 20th century. Since the 19th century, however, Japan has incorporated much of Western, , and into construction and design, and is today a leader in cutting-edge architectural design and technology.

The introduction of during the sixth century was a catalyst for large-scale building using complicated techniques in wood. Influence from the Chinese and dynasties led to the foundation of the first permanent capital in . Its checkerboard street layout used the Chinese capital of as a template for its design. A gradual increase in the size of buildings led to standard units of measurement as well as refinements in layout and garden design. The introduction of the emphasised simplicity and modest design as a counterpoint to the excesses of the aristocracy.

During the of 1868 the history of Japanese architecture was radically changed by two important events. The first was the of 1868, which formally separated Buddhism from and from , breaking an association between the two which had lasted well over a thousand years.

Second, it was then that Japan underwent a period of intense in order to compete with other developed countries. Initially architects and styles from abroad were imported to Japan but gradually the country taught its own architects and began to express its own style. Architects returning from study with western architects introduced the of modernism into Japan. However, it was not until after the Second World War that Japanese architects made an impression on the international scene, firstly with the work of architects like and then with theoretical movements like .

Art

Further information: , , and

The have been celebrated as the prototype of Japanese architecture. Largely of wood, and many see the use of mats and that break down the distinction between rooms and indoor and outdoor space., largely of wood, and are among the oldest of the Japanese arts, with early figurative paintings dating back to at least 300 BC. The history of Japanese painting exhibits synthesis and competition between native and adaptation of imported ideas.

The interaction between Japanese and European art has been significant: for example prints, which began to be exported in the 19th century in the movement known as , had a significant influence on the development of modern art in the West, most notably on . Famous ukiyo-e artists include and .

Japanese comics, known as , developed in the 20th century and have become popular worldwide. was first to use the word "manga" in the modern sense.Japanese-made have been popular since the 1980s.

Animation

Main articles: and

Japanese animated films and television series, known as for short, were largely influenced by Japanese comic books and have been extensively popular in the West. Japan is a world-renowned powerhouse of animation. Famous anime directors include , and .

Cinema

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Japan has one of the oldest and largest film industries in the world; movies have been produced in Japan since 1897. Three Japanese films (, and ) made the 's 2002 Critics and Directors Poll for the .'s became an international icon of Japan and spawned an entire subgenre of films, as well as the longest-running film franchise in history. The most acclaimed Japanese film directors include , , and . Japan has won the for the four times, more than any other Asian country.

Music

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Masayo Ishigure playing 13-strings

Japanese music is eclectic and diverse. Many , such as the , were introduced in the 9th and 10th centuries. The accompanied of the drama dates from the 14th century and the popular , with the guitar-like , from the sixteenth. Western classical music, introduced in the late 19th century, now forms an integral part of Japanese culture. The imperial court ensemble has influenced the work of some Western composers.

Notable classical composers from Japan include and . Popular music in post-war Japan has been heavily influenced by American and European trends, which has led to the evolution of , or Japanese popular music. is the most widely practiced cultural activity in Japan. A 1993 survey by the found that more Japanese had sung karaoke that year than had participated in traditional pursuits such as flower arranging (ikebana) or tea ceremonies.

Literature

Main articles: and

The earliest works of Japanese literature include the and chronicles and the , all from the 8th century and written in Chinese characters. In the early Heian period, the system of known as kana ( and ) was developed. is considered the oldest Japanese narrative. An account of Heian court life is given in by , while by is often described as the world's first novel.

During the Edo period, the ("townspeople") overtook the samurai aristocracy as producers and consumers of literature. The popularity of the works of , for example, reveals this change in readership and authorship, while revivified the poetic tradition of the with his () and wrote the poetic travelogue . The Meiji era saw the decline of traditional literary forms as Japanese literature integrated Western influences. and were the first "modern" novelists of Japan, followed by , , and, more recently, . Japan has two authors— (1968) and (1994).

Philosophy

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, one of the most notable Japanese philosophers

Japanese Philosophy has historically been a of both foreign; particularly and , and uniquely Japanese elements. In its literary forms, Japanese philosophy began about fourteen centuries ago.

and early historical accounts suggest that Japan was originally an , which viewed the world as infused with kami (神) or sacred presence as taught by , though it is not a philosophy as such, but has greatly influenced all other philosophies in their Japanese interpretations.

entered Japan from China around the 5th century A.D., as did . Confucian ideals are still evident today in the and the self, and in the organization of the and the structure of . Buddhism has profoundly impacted Japanese psychology, , and .

Indigenous ideas of and honour have been held since the 16th century. Western philosophy has had its major impact in Japan only since the middle of the 19th century.

Cuisine

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Breakfast at a or inn preparing teacups for tea ceremony

Japanese cuisine is based on combining , typically or , with a soup and —dishes made from , vegetable, and the like—to add flavor to the staple food. In the early modern era ingredients such as red meats that had previously not been widely used in Japan were introduced. Japanese cuisine is known for its emphasis on , quality of ingredients and presentation. Japanese cuisine offers a vast array of that use traditional recipes and local ingredients. The phrase ichijū-sansai (一汁三菜, "one soup, three sides") refers to the makeup of a typical meal served, but has roots in classic , , and yūsoku cuisine. The term is also used to describe the first course served in standard kaiseki cuisine nowadays.

Traditional Japanese sweets are known as wagashi. Ingredients such as and are used. More modern-day tastes includes , a very popular flavor. Almost all manufacturers produce a version of it. is a shaved ice dessert flavored with syrup or condensed milk. It is usually sold and eaten at summer festivals. Popular Japanese beverages such as , which is a brewed rice beverage that, typically, contains 15%17% and is made by multiple of rice. Beer has been brewed in Japan since the late 1800s and is produced in many regions by companies including , , and – the oldest brand of beer in Japan.

  • (寿司)

  • (ラーメン)

  • (天ぷら)

  • (和菓子) served with (抹茶)

Holidays

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Officially, Japan has 16 national, government-recognized holidays. Public holidays in Japan are regulated by the Public Holiday Law (国民の祝日に関する法律 Kokumin no Shukujitsu ni Kansuru Hōritsu) of 1948. Beginning in 2000, Japan implemented the , which moved a number of national holidays to Monday in order to obtain a long weekend. In 2006, the country decided to add , a new national holiday, in place of on April 29, and to move Greenery Day to May 4. These changes took effect in 2007. In 2014, the decided to add Mountain Day (山の日, Yama no Hi) to the Japanese calendar on August 11, after lobbying by the Japanese Alpine Club. It is intended to coincide with the vacation time, giving Japanese people an opportunity to appreciate Japan's mountains.

The national holidays in Japan are on January 1, on Second Monday of January, on February 11, on March 20 or 21, on April 29, on May 3, on May 4, on May 5, on Third Monday of July, on August 11, on Third Monday of September, on September 23 or 24, on Second Monday of October, on November 3, on November 23, and on December 23.

Festivals

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There are many festivals in Japan, which are called in Japanese as matsuri (祭) which celebrate annually. There are no specific festival days for all of Japan; dates vary from area to area, and even within a specific area, but festival days do tend to cluster around traditional holidays such as or . Festivals are often based around one , with food stalls, , and to keep people entertained. Its usually sponsored by a local or , though they can be .

Notable festival often feature processions which may include elaborate floats. Preparation for these processions is usually organised at the level of neighborhoods, or machi (町). Prior to these, the local may be ritually installed in and paraded through the streets, such as in , and in .

Sports

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wrestlers form around the referee during the ring-entering ceremony

Traditionally, is considered Japan's national sport. such as , and are also widely practiced and enjoyed by spectators in the country. After the Meiji Restoration, many Western sports were introduced in Japan and began to spread through the education system.

Japan hosted the Summer Olympics in and the Winter Olympics in and . Further, the country hosted the official . Tokyo will host the , making Tokyo the first Asian city to host the Olympics twice. The country gained the hosting rights for the official on five occasions (, , , , ), more than any other nation. Japan is the most successful Asian country, winning the a record 6 times and winning the newly formed in 2011. Japan will host the 2019 IRB .

is currently the most popular spectator sport in the country. Japan's top professional league, now known as , was established in 1936 and is widely considered to be the highest level of professional baseball in the world outside of the North American . Since the establishment of the in 1992, association football has also gained a wide following. Japan was a venue of the from 1981 to 2004 and co-hosted the with South Korea. Japan has one of the most successful football teams in Asia, winning the four times. Also, Japan recently won the in 2011. Golf is also popular in Japan, as are forms of auto racing like the series and . The country has produced one player, .

Media

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Broadcasting Building in

and take an important role in Japanese mass media, though and also take a part. For a long time, newspapers were regarded as the most influential information medium in Japan, although audience attitudes towards television changed with the emergence of commercial news broadcasting in the mid-1980s. Over the last decade, television has clearly come to surpass newspapers as Japan's main information and entertainment medium.

There are 6 nationwide television networks: (), (NTV), (TBS), (FNS), (EX) and (TXN). For the most part, television networks were established based on capital investments by existing radio networks. , , and constitute a large percentage of Japanese television show. According to the 2015 NHK survey on television viewing in Japan, 79 percent of Japanese watch television every day. The average daily duration of television viewing was three hours.

Japanese readers have a choice of approximately 120 daily newspapers with a total of 50 million copies of set paper with an average subscription rate of 1.13 newspapers per household. The main newspaper's publishers are , , , and . According to a survey conducted by the Japanese Newspaper Association in June 1999, 85.4 per cent of men and 75 per cent of women read a newspaper every day. Average daily reading times vary with 27.7 minutes on weekdays and 31.7 minutes on holidays and Sunday.

See also

References

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